Then he said unto them, “Go your way, eat the fat,
And drink the sweet, and send portions unto them
For whom nothing has been prepared: for this day is
Holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy
Of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10, KJV)
As I ponder the Christmas season and all the giving and receiving that will occur in the coming days and weeks, I can’t help but be drawn back past my childhood and childhoods of many others, to the birth and childhood of an infant in Bethlehem. When I think about the infant Jesus my next thought turns to His mother, Mary, a woman just like you and I. It may have been a different time, a different culture, but still a woman. She felt the same fears, misgivings, joys and sorrows we feel. Like the pain of watching our child leave the nest, the scorn and disapproval from neighbors who don’t take the time to understand our situation, joy in watching our family grow and be successful, contentment with what we have accomplished.
God gave Mary a wonderful gift and with little hesitation, she opened her heart and received the gift of our savior. In a popular Christmas carol the lyricist asks Mary if she knew who her son was and that he would be the savior of the world. As far as receiving and giving this question makes little difference, because Mary graciously accepted the gift from God and as Jesus grew into a man she graciously gave her son as a gift to the world. She didn’t stop to consider whom he was or what he was sent here to do. She just once again opened her heart and soul and shared the light of the gift of her son.
God has given us many gifts, but he doesn’t want us to hide them. In Mark 4:21 it says:
Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed?
Is it not to be set on a lampstand?
Our gifts from God are those lamps. We are not meant to hide them but to put them on a lampstand to share with the world. Mary was unexpectedly given gifts just as we all are, and she could have made the choice to reject them and if she chose to accept them then she could have chosen to hide them under a basket.
Mary made two choices that changed the world, one was to give birth to a son who was the savior and the other was to give that son to the world and ultimately to God. God has given us all gifts and the choices that Mary was given are the same choices we are given. It is up to us what we do with those gifts, but if we look at the results of Mary’s choices how can we say no to God or the world. I would like to present a challenge all of our readers for the Christmas season and the upcoming new year.
First: Take an inventory of the gifts so graciously given by our loving God
Second: Chose one even if it is a small one, take it out from under the basket and let its light shine on someone else.
Third: Share and receive the reflection of the glow from the one on whom you bestowed your gift.
You don’t have to do something big, just share a smile or a treat with a kindly neighbor, donate an old winter coat or blanket to someone who doesn’t have one, buy a Christmas present for a child who would otherwise not get one this year. Your one thoughtful small gift will create a ripple in God’s great pond.
Finally, don’t sit and wait for thanks or some kind of repayment, you may be there a long time. Instead, move on, do it again and your thanks will come when we reach our eternal home with Jesus and God. Let the Holy Spirit move through you and He will move you too. You will feel an inner glow that only God can give.
Therefore, that is my Christmas present to you this year. I took one of my gifts out from under a bushel and shared it with you, now it is your turn to do the same. Do not put out those wonderful lights but let them shine for the whole world to see. Let them know that we are Christian women and no one can stop us from sharing the love of our God and changing the world one woman at a time.
Merry Christmas and God Bless.
P.S. If you have read this and taken on my challenge, let me know what you have done so I can share it with others and we can watch the world change together.